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Fulham 1 Tottenham 2: Spurs player ratings

Tottenham's goalscorers Vlad Chiriches (right) and Lewis Holtby Tottenham's goalscorers Vlad Chiriches (right) and Lewis Holtby

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
10:50 PM

Tottenham triumphed 2-1 over Fulham at Craven Cottage this evening - but how did the individual Spurs players perform?

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The goalkeeper saved from Giorgos Karagounis in the first half, and he was hopelessly exposed for Fulham’s goal so cannot be blamed. He did get away with one later on though, diving to intercept a cross and missing. Fortunately when the ball struck Michael Dawson it did not rebound into the net. The Frenchman went on to make two stunning and vital saves late on to secure the three points.


The right-back sought to get forward and provide an option down the right, but his deliveries weren’t always the best.


The captain tried to do too much in the second period, advancing and losing the ball inside his own half, contributing directly to Fulham’s goal. Villas-Boas will be frustrated by another individual error at the back.


The Romanian bailed his defensive partner out by scoring the equaliser – and in some style as he sent a low 40-yard drive into the bottom corner, netting his first goal for the club.


The Belgian was fielded out of position once again and dilligently worked back and forth to provide width, but he would clearly like to be more involved (in the centre) and he showed his frustration when Lewis Holtby declined to play the ball out to him in the second half. Worryingly, the Belgian appeared to injure his ankle towards the end, and he had to be helped off the field after the final whistle.


With Etienne Capoue also playing a deep midfield role, the Brazilian was rather redundant. Leaving his team-mate to it, he moved forward but struggled to get involved and gave the ball away a few times. Capoue was substituted at half-time but it was a similar story for Sandro alongside Paulinho, and he was eventually substituted in the 68th minute as Villas-Boas brought on another more offensive player in Nacer Chadli. Ultimately, there was always another player trying to do the same job as him, which was a tactical issue rather than a personal failing.


The Frenchman worked busily in front of the back four to keep the ball moving and feed it into the more advanced players. At one stage he won the ball and freed Jermain Defoe, whose shot was saved. However, there was no need to have both Capoue and Sandro in the side and, when Villas-Boas brought on Lewis Holtby at half-time, he opted to withdraw the Frenchman – probably because he had been booked.


The winger started out of position on the left side and struggled to have an impact, apart from a swift break as he and Jermain Defoe combined to set up a chance for Paulinho, who fluffed his lines. Lennon switched to the right flank and looked much more dangerous, finding Defoe with two low crosses shortly before Fulham’s goal. Oddly, he was then moved back to the left, and went quiet, before switching back to the right and looking more at home again. There’s a pattern here…


The Brazilian started in the No10 role but was ineffective and, when he did manage to get a glimpse of goal, he blazed over from a great position – a big miss. He dropped back into a deeper position in the second half but needed to be stronger when Michael Dawson sold him short on the halfway line - instead he lost a 50/50 and Fulham scored. Paulinho nearly got a goal, seeing his flicked header brilliantly clawed out of the top corner by Stekelenburg, but it remains unclear how to get the best out of him in this Tottenham side.


The 21-year-old started slowly on the right flank, giving the ball away twice, but he did not hide, seeking to get involved in central areas and sending a low curling effort just wide after good work from Defoe. The Argentine then moved to the left side and threatened again, driving to the edge of the box and forcing Maarten Stekelenburg into a good save. Unfortunately, he drifted out of the game after that and was replaced by Andros Townsend.


The striker was given a chance to impress and, although he did not score, he put in a lively display. An early low shot was well saved, and he then set up Paulinho and Lamela inside the box, with both chances going begging. Defoe’s movement in the box was sharp and he got onto the end of two low Lennon deliveries, but saw his efforts blocked by Philippe Senderos on both occasions. The England striker had a good chance after latching onto Nacer Chadli’s ball over the top and getting in behind, but his prodded shot went over the bar – again under pressure from Senderos.


Lewis Holtby 7

The German provided a more creative presence after coming on as a half-time substitute, linking up neatly with Lennon to put the winger in behind shortly after his introduction. He didn’t always choose the right option and he lost the ball a couple of times because he didn’t know someone was behind him – but he popped up with the all-important winning goal, and it was quite a strike from 20 yards.

Nacer Chadli 5

The Belgian came on to play the No10 role and released Defoe with a nice ball over the top.

Andros Townsend 5

Had little time to make an impact.

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